An XML Sitemap is a list of pages on your website (not readily visible to humans) that is formatted in such a way that helps Google index pages on your site that it might not find otherwise. Your Sitemap can even specify how long before the content changes on each page so Google knows when to come back and reindex. This has HUGE value for SEO.
Do any of the following apply to your website? (This list is pulled directly from the Google help page on Sitemaps)
- Your site has dynamic content.
- Your site has pages that aren’t easily discovered by Googlebot during the crawl process—for example, pages featuring rich AJAX or images.
- Your site is new and has few links to it. (Googlebot crawls the web by following links from one page to another, so if your site isn’t well linked, it may be hard for us to discover it.)
- Your site has a large archive of content pages that are not well linked to each other, or are not linked at all.
If so, you definitely need an XML Sitemap. Have you every seen video content when searching on Google? You can create an XML video Sitemap for Google that will allow your video content to be disabled on the Google search page. In my personal experience with SEO, Google, and small business websites, XML Sitemaps have been an invaluable tool. Most people don’t know what they are and often pay me to do SEO work. One of my SEO “secrets” is to install the XML Google Sitemaps Plugin on my clients websites. My clients usually see results within a few days from using that plugin! Crazy, huh?